ZANU-PF slips back into the Bulawayo City Council through back door


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ZANU-PF slipped back into the Bulawayo City Council through the back door when its candidate, Ernest Msipa, stood unopposed when nominations for a by-election in Ward 7 closed on September 3 because the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is boycotting all pending elections, did not field a candidate.

Ward 7 covers Makokoba, the city’s oldest black suburb, Thorngrove, and the industrial areas of Westgate, Steeldale and Westondale.

The seat was declared vacant after the councillor for the area, Albert Ndhlovu, of the MDC, failed to attend six consecutive council meetings. Ndhlovu was reported to have left the country in September last year allegedly to seek medical treatment in South Africa but never came back.

The by-election was initially scheduled for September 18, but registrar-general, Tobaiwa Mudede, had postponed all local government by-elections scheduled for that date to September 25.

The MDC held all 29 seats in the council until the recent development. Executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube is also from the MDC.

The MDC’s national executive council decided to boycott all pending elections two weeks ago saying it will only participate when the government adopts electoral reforms that are in line with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) principles and guidelines for democratic elections.

The SADC guidelines say member states should ensure full participation of their citizens in the political process. There should be freedom of association, political tolerance, equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media, equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for, voter education, an independent judiciary and impartiality of the electoral institutions.

Though the government has conceded to some electoral reforms such as the setting up of an independent election commission, observers say these reforms fall far short of those required by the regional body.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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